Captain Lupe De Feu
Day 1-Aboard the Mariana-Off the coast
Martin gazed down on the deck from up the mast. He hung onto the pegs and surveyed the ship. He could see everything, from the Captain steering the ship, to Bowler carrying kegs down into the cargo hold, to Jim on the poop deck. He took a deep breath of the sea air, as it blew into the sails.
Once he had his fill of scenery, he climbed down onto the deck.
He heard someone say just before he slipped and fell on the hard wood, butt first. He rubbed his behind before he stood up with a grunt. “Thanks for the warning.”
He glanced around. He saw Lupe on her hands and knees scrubbing the deck.
“So have you been promoted or demoted?” he asked smartly.
She indiscreetly foot sweeped him.
Martin fell onto his bottom again. “Hey…didn’t you…you just…” He hadn’t actually seen or felt her foot push his ankle.
Lupe began to whistle and ignore him as she scrubbed the deck.
Martin growled as he got up this time. Then he walked away.
Lupe just continued to whistle. She heard Jim’s footsteps as he walked over to her.
“Why did you just trip Martin?” Jim asked.
“Because he was being a moron.” Lupe answered matter-of-factly.
Lupe paused scrubbing and glance up at Jim. She stared at him for a couple of seconds, and then she went back to work. “Be careful where you prod. There are a bunch of pirates on board. And they won’t appreciate you sticking your nose into their business.”
Jim paused. Then he glanced around at the crew. “How many pirates?” He asked quietly.
“Hard to say. About half the crew, maybe more.” She answered scrubbing the deck like nothing was wrong.
Jim gulped before asking his next question. “Are you a pirate?”
Lupe paused her scrubbing. “No. I’m not a pirate. Next stop I suggest you leave the ship. Things around here could turn into a mutiny mighty quick.” She got up, off her knees, picked up her bucket and carried it to the hallway in front of the ladder to the lower decks.
Jim felt a slight shiver. There were more pirates on board than not. He had to make sure. He walked over to Martin, who was busy checking the mainsail.
“Not now, Jim.” Martin answered.
“But Martin, I have to tell you something.” Jim prodded.
“I said, not now.” Martin answered. Then his grip slipped and he fell onto deck. “This just ain’t my day.”
Before Martin could get up, Geoffrey stepped over him carrying a large trunk towards the bow. Martin lied still until the huge boots passed over him. Then he sat up.
“That’s one big kitty.” Martin commented.
Geoffrey scowled under the heavy trunk. He carried it down below to the Queen’s cabin. Two black, smaller leopards blocked the door.
“The Queen’s trunk she requested.” Geoffrey announced. The two leopards stood their ground. One took the trunk. As the door opened, the leopard handed the trunk to another leopard inside. The whole transaction took place with only the slightest bit of the inside of the cabin actually seen.
So Geoffrey just turned and headed back up on deck. At the end of the deck he tripped over Lupe, who was still scrubbing the deck. The lumbering giant rolled onto the wood floor. Lupe paused to glance at the lump of fur on the wood she’d just scrubbed. But then she just shrugged her shoulders and began scrubbing and whistling again.
Geoffrey got up, his quiet temper building. He glared down at Lupe, who continued to ignore him.
Martin and Jim paused to watch the commotion.
But Geoffrey just turned and walked away.
“Whoa. Lucky dog.” Commented Jim.
“Well, since I’m down here now, what did you want?” Martin asked as he sat on the deck.
“Lupe said that there are a lot of pirates on board. She said they take up half the crew.” Jim whispered.
“You listened to that dog? And you actually believe her?” Martin asked disgusted.
“Um…yeah. Why not?”
“Because she’s just a sea dog woman! And women no nothing about sailing!” Martin said loudly.
Elizabeth and Sabeena heard him from across deck. They walked up behind Martin and stood to listen.
“Uh…Martin, are you sure about that?” Jim asked. He saw the angry scowls on the two women’s faces.
“Yes, I’m sure! Women are good for only two things. One, house keeping!” Martin finally recognized the look of fear on Jim’s face. He turned his head to look behind him as he continued. “And Two, they…” He saw the mad husky and lop-eared rabbit. “Eh, hehe. Did I just stick my foot in my mouth?”
“But I think there still be room enough fer thee other one.” Commented Sabeena.
“Heh, you know, I think I can hear the cargo room calling me. I’d better go and check on everything.” Martin hurried to the ladder.
Jim paused to glance at the women again before hurrying after Martin.
“Deck’s wet.” Martin heard the familiar warning right before he slipped and fell to the deck below, missing the ladder completely. He groaned as Jim climbed down behind him.
“You all right?” Jim asked.
“So much for impressing the only good dog on board.”
“Yep.” Martin grumbled as he got up and walked over to the crew bunks.
Mr. Blare, the coyote, was strolling along on the deck, taking notes of everything each crewmember did. He also made drawings of them if they were still long enough for him to do so. But this was his first day, so he was more occupied with his notes for his novel.
He’d taken notes of how Sean kept a sharp lookout with his scope in the eagle’s nest. He’d also taken notes about the burly Bowler, who would toss heavy objects around like toys. He’d even managed to get in the way of Geoffrey a few times, all by accident of course. It seemed like Geoffrey was like a magnet. No matter how they tried, no one could stay out of his way for very long.
Blare came upon Robert, the raccoon, who was leaning over the side of the ship.
“I say, what are you doing?” asked Blare.
Robert turned his head just enough to glare at Blare. His face seemed pale green in color.
“Oh. Well…uh…carry on.” Blare quickly left as Robert heaved over the side again. “Sea sickness. Such a terrible predicament.” He commented jotting down the information. He didn’t notice Bengamin pop up in front of him.
“What be you doing?” Bengamin accused.
“Just taking some notes.” He answered.
“Notes. For what?” Bengamin asked suspiciously.
“I’m writing a book about life on the sea. And I want it to be as close to facts as possible. Besides, I like to base my characters off of real people.” Blare explained.
“Really.” Bengamin still wasn’t convinced.
“Yes. I’m hoping to get the whole book published when I’m finished this voyage.” Blare continued.
“Well, I must be along. Still a lot of the crew to watch.” Blare said continuing along the deck.
Bengamin let him by. He scowled. Then he hurried down to the Captain’s quarters. He knocked on the door.
“Come in.” replied Morgan.
Bengamin stepped in and closed the door. “Sir, you sure it be safe fer Blare to be goin’ ‘round the ship like he be doing?”
“Yes. Why not?” Morgan asked glancing up from his desk. He was marking his charts.
“Well, like I said, there be a few weak pirates on board. They be getting’ upset if he bothers them.” Said Bengamin.
“Then they’ll get a few lashings. Don’t worry about it. Just let me know if he gets into any trouble.” Replied Morgan.
“Yes, sir.” Bengamin said before leaving. He met Blare in the hallway, trying to get into the Queen’s cabin.
“No.” The leopard answered forcefully. The two leopards held their Arabian swords in their hands.
“Not even an interview? I mean no threat to the Queen.” Prodded Blare.
Bengamin grabbed him and pulled him aside.
“Hey, what do you think you’re…?” Blare was upset from being interrupted.
“Look you, in their culture, no one be allowed to see the Queen outside of her palace. So if ye don’t want to loose yer head, I suggest ye be movin’ on.” Bengamin warned with clenched teeth.
“All right, all right.” Blare replied. Then he fixed his clothes and walked back to the ladder. He climbed up on deck and began to bother other sailors.
Bengamin also climbed up on deck. He glared down on Lupe, before heading on.
Once he was several feet away, Lupe paused to glare at his back. If she’d known Bengamin and half of Black Beard’s crew were going to be on board, she would have stayed and waited for the next ship to Africa. But now she was stuck with a bunch of sea dogs capable of mutinying at any time.
Day 2-Aboard the Mariana-Off the coast
Coal the ring-tailed coati, hung from the mast using his long tail and legs. He was thoroughly enjoying his perch at least 30 feet from the deck. He swung back and forth, upside down, with the tossing of the ship. The breeze blew through his gray fur. He would rather brave the life of a sailor, than live the poor and dirty life of farming.
Glancing down on the deck below him, he saw Blare sitting on a keg barrel staring at him. Coal growled. Then he noticed Blare glance down at the paper he was holding. Coal could make out the faint picture of him hanging from the mast. Coal was concentrating so hard on looking at the drawing, that he forgot he was hanging from the mast. His legs relaxed as he stretched to see. He slipped and fell back before he came to his senses and grabbed the mast with his claws.
“Ooo. That was a close one.” Blare commented watching Coal. So he drew another picture of Coal nearly falling from his perch. Then he closed his sketchbook and got up to get some exercise.
Bengamin saw what had happened and just shook his head in disgust.
Martin laid lazily on a couple crates cluttering up the deck. Jim lied beside him. But he was soon bored and had to get up.
“What do you want to do?” Jim asked.
“Absolutely nothing.” Martin replied closing his eyes.
Since his buddy was drifting off to sleep, Jim decided to wander around on deck. He soon saw Blare, sitting on the stairs to the aft deck, sketching Captain Morgan. Jim walked over and looked over Blare’s shoulder at his drawing.
“Whoa. You’re really good.” Jim commented.
“Thank you. But I work best when no one is looking over my shoulder.” Blare replied.
“Sorry.” So Jim sat down beside him and continued to watch him draw.
Blare glanced at the wild dog. He thought for a moment.
Jim noticed. “What?”
“Would you mind if I drew a sketch of you?” Blare asked him.
“Sure! I mean, I don’t mind.” Said Jim.
“Okay then. Stand in front of me, and put your hands on your hips.” Blare instructed.
“Like this?” Jim asked. He jumped up, and posed for him.
“Yeah. Just tilt your head up some, and look straight ahead.”
“There. Now just hold that pose. I’ll be done in a minute.”
Jim stood as still as he could. He would glance at Blare out of the corner of his eye every few seconds.
Blare’s charcoal pencil flew across the page. He would continuously glance from Jim to the paper, and then back to Jim. First he sketched Jim’s outline, then he filled in with more detail. He then finished it off with shadowing.
“There. Done.” Blare announced blowing away the coal dust.
Jim hurried over and looked intently at the drawing.
“Wow! That’s great!” Jim said in awe.
“Do you mind if I keep it?” Blare asked.
“Not at all. I want to see myself in one of your books.” Jim answered.
Blare laughed. “Very well.”
Jim hurried back to Martin, who was still asleep on the crates.
“Martin! Come and see the picture Blare drew of me!” Jim pleaded.
Martin awoke in the middle of a snore. “What? What?”
“Come and see my picture!” Jim repeated.
“Sure, sure. In a minute.” Martin replied closing his eyes again.
“But…” Jim paused when Bowler stepped in front of him.
Bowler picked up the crate, with Martin still asleep on top, and carried it over to the ladder. Bowler carried the crate down the ladder and into the cargo hold. There he dropped the crate heavily.
Martin stirred, but he didn’t wake.
Bowler brushed his paws together, and then he returned back to the upper deck. He met Jim atop the ladder.
“A pleasure, kid.” He tipped his hat to Jim before heading back to work.
Jim stood above the ladder and stared down into the dark hallway.
“S’cuse me.” Jim moved aside to let Lupe down the ladder.
“Where are you going?” Jim asked.
“To scrub the floor. What else?” she replied.
Jim watched her disappear down the hallway. So he slowly climbed down the ladder and peered around. Then he spotted her down the hallway, in front of the Queen’s cabin, talking to the leopards. Jim quickly hid behind the shadow of the ladder and eavesdropped.
“Ask her if she wants the cabin cleaned up. I didn’t get to it before we left the port.” Lupe insisted.
“You are not the Queen’s maid!” The leopard on the right answered.
“I didn’t see any maid come on board. So unless you would rather scrub the cabin dirt, and get your head cut off when the Queen sees a rat, I would suggest you ask her if I can go in.” Lupe argued.
At her tone of voice, the leopards pulled their swords and pointed them at her.
Jim jumped as the gold plated swords met Lupe’s fur.
“Look. I saw that cabin, and I want the Queen to be pleased as much as you do…”
“Leave!” the leopard on the left growled. He swung his sword at Lupe intending to bluff her.
Lupe instantly pulled two hidden knives out of her boots! She blocked the sword with one knife, blocked the other leopard's sword with the other knife, and then she jumped and kicked them both at the same time with a scissor kick! The leopards fell over, onto their knees! Lupe hit their kidneys with her two elbows, dropping them to the ground completely!
The other two leopards rushed out of the cabin with their swords drawn! They used their strength to pin Lupe’s arms against the wall! Then they brought back their swords intending to end the fight!
The two leopards halted as Lupe stopped struggling. A small, thin, black cat stood in the doorway infuriated. She was covered in gold Egyptian jewelry, bright make-up, and a white robe. She stood with authority.
“Your highness, she was attempting treason!” One of the black leopards reported. They held onto Lupe, pushing her forward from the wall.
“Wait! Let me explain myself…” Lupe began.
“Silence!” ordered one of the leopards.
“Let her go.” Cleopatra ordered sharply.
The leopards let go of Lupe. She stumbled before gaining her balance. The Queen stared her in the eyes waiting for an explanation.
“Like I was saying, I didn’t get a chance to clean out the cabins before you came aboard. And on the last voyage this particular cabin had a family of rats living in the furniture. I got most of them. But by now, they’ve surely multiplied, and we probably picked up more at the harbor. So all I wanted to do was clean up the place and get rid of the rats.” Lupe quickly explained.
Cleopatra narrowed her eyes.
“You’re story seems to be truthful enough, but why would the last crew have hired you, to get rid of the rats.” The Queen asked folding her arms.
“Because I’m a…” Lupe stopped before she blurted something she would regret. The Queen glared at her. “A dog…a very good breed of dog. I can sniff the rats out fairly easily. And I don’t see any hounds on board right now to take my place.”
Cleopatra glared at Lupe a little longer. “Very well. You!” She pointed to one of the leopards just now getting up. “Watch her until she leaves. And you.” She pointed to the other poor leopard getting up. “Fan me. The rest of you stay at the door.”
Lupe snatched the rat out of the hutch. Then she hit it’s head with a stick and knocked it out. She tossed it into the bucket with the other 5 rats she’d collected already.
“Ugh, I hate rats.” Commented the Queen from the other end of the room. She sat on a bunch of pillows as one of the black leopards fanned her with a fan made of emu feathers. The other leopard stood over Lupe, as she leaned in the hutch still sniffing out rats.
“That’s what I thought.” Lupe replied.
“What do you mean by that?” Cleopatra snapped hotly.
The leopard above Lupe drew his sword. Lupe froze glancing up at the large Arabian sword.
“I didn’t mean it that way.” Lupe said quickly.
“Sorry. I’ve just been under a lot of stress lately.” Cleopatra apologized. “You, go get me some fruit from the chef.” She ordered the leopard guarding Lupe.
The leopard left immediately.
Lupe paused to watch him leave, and then she went back to catching rats. When she was finished in the hutch she stood up and took a sniff.
The Queen watched.
Lupe instantly walked over to the pillows Cleopatra was laying on. She quickly stuck her hand down into the pillows beside Cleopatra.
“What are you…?!” Cleopatra asked indignantly.
Lupe pulled out a big rat in her grasp.
“Ugh! Get that thing away from me.” The Queen ordered.
“Sorry.” Lupe said walking back over to the bucket. She hit the rat, and then dropped him into the bucket. “Why have you been under stress?”
“A number of things. There’s a drought in my country right now. I went to England to discuss buying food for my people. Then there’s the usual constant fear that my sister is going to kill me. And then there’s the marriage arrangement with the King of Niger. And last, the threat of someone like yourself taking over the ship and holding me at ransom while I’m on my way back to my country.”
“Then you’re not going to like what I have to tell you.” Lupe paused catching rats.
“What?” Cleopatra sighed.
“The skunk on board, calls himself Bart. He’s Black Beard the pirate. He has half his men on board. The other half are probably manning his ship until they surprise us and mutiny.” Lupe explained.
“Oh, that just figures!” The Queen stood up and walked over to the window to get some fresh air.
“But you can’t tell anyone before we pull into another port to get supplies, or they’ll mutiny early.” Lupe warned. “Once everyone’s safe in a town, I need you to inform the captain about Black Beard.”
“Do you presume to order me about?” The Queen asked hotly again.
“No. No. I just doubt the captain will listen to me.” Lupe said quickly.
“Why won’t he believe you?” Cleopatra asked.
“I’m just a hired sailor. And Black Beard’s first mate is Theodore Morgan’s first mate. He’ll turn Morgan against anyone at the slightest hint of the plan’s discovery.”
“Is that what you really came in here for? To warn me?” Cleopatra asked.
“Yes.” Lupe answered. She caught a whiff of another rat. She quickly ran over to one of the Queens trunks. Sliding it aside, she quickly caught the rat and carried him back over to the bucket.
The Queen narrowed her cat eyes. “Are you sure you’re a dog?”
“A dog? Yeah, I’m a dog.” Lupe answered managing a laugh. She hit the rat and dropped him into the bucket.
“And another thing, how did you know about Black Beard’s supposed plan?” The Queen asked.
“If a pirate like Black Beard is on a ship other than his own with half his crew, he’s either a prisoner begin taken to be hanged, or he’s a sea dog in disguise planning to take the ship.” Lupe explained.
“But how have you recognized him when no other sailor or prisoner has lived to tell any officers his appearance. And if you know what he looks like, why haven’t you gone to the officers to have them make a sketch of him?”
“Uh…I’ve heard stories about what he looked like.” Lupe said quickly.
“Right. And where did you get the stories?” Cleopatra asked. She gave a hand gesture to the leopard, and he drew his sword.
“His pirates.” Lupe answered quietly.
From another hand gesture, the leopard leaped forward attacking Lupe! She dodged his sword swings, throwing things at him as she headed towards the door! The door swung open and smacked her in the head, knocking her into a corner! The entering leopard put down the fruit and drew his sword! The other leopard cornered Lupe with his sword.
“Bring her over here.” Cleopatra ordered.
They grabbed Lupe and forced her over to Cleopatra with their swords. Cleopatra stood up from her pillows and glared Lupe in the eyes.
“I may not know much about pirates, but I do know that you don’t get that kind of information from a murdering pirate everyday!” Cleopatra snapped. “How did you find out?”
Lupe didn’t answer.
Cleopatra nodded to one of the leopards. He instantly brought his sword up under Lupe’s neck.
“On my count, slice her neck. One…Two…Thr…”
Lupe interrupted the last word. “I’m a pirate! I’m a pirate.”
Cleopatra paused. “You’re a pirate?”
“A Privateer, actually.” Lupe quickly added.
“What’s the difference?” Cleopatra asked.
“I had Marques from the Kings and Queens of different countries, allowing me to attack other countries that they were at war with.” Lupe explained.
“So, you were a hired hand?”
“Not really. I just would rather have served in their Navy, but the way they fight is ridiculous. So I began my own fleet and fought my own way.”
Cleopatra gave the leopards another signal. They let go of Lupe. She rubbed her throat and glared at the leopards.
“So, you’re a Captain?” Cleopatra asked.
“You mean you’re not anymore?”
“No. My fleet was destroyed, and most everyone killed.”
“Is Black Beard your Captain now?”
“No! I wouldn’t serve under that dog for anything!” Lupe quickly said.
“But how did you learn about Black Beard?” Cleopatra asked.
“I captured some of his pirates in a drift boat while in Norway. They confessed everything. But then I found out why they’d been set adrift. They had a deadly disease. Killed some of my crew. I had to get rid of their bodies before we all died.” Lupe explained.
“And you didn’t tell anybody because…?”
“Actually, it didn’t cross my mind until he became famous a couple years later, when my fleet was defeated.”
“Why didn’t you tell anybody then?”
“’Cause I can’t trust anybody right now. I do have a bounty on my head for the countries I fought against.”
“But what are you doing here?”
“Just…floating around right now.” Lupe quickly changed the subject. She didn’t like talking about her fallen fleet. “So you’re going to tell the Captain?”
“Yes. I will tell him.” She answered.
“You won’t uncover me…will you?” Lupe asked hopefully.
Cleopatra thought a moment. “No. I’ll repay you one day. If what you say is true.”
Lupe sighed with relief.
“You may go now. And…take your rats with you.”
Lupe bowed slightly, then she hurried over, picked up her bucket, and left.
Jim got up when he saw Lupe come out of the Queen’s cabin. And he was surprised to see that she was all right. He hid back in the shadow.
Lupe walked over to the ladder. She instantly smelled, saw and heard Jim in the corner. She put down the bucket and stared at him.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“I was just, just, watching.” He answered.
“How much did you see?”
“I saw you go in, and I saw you come out.” He answered nervously.
Lupe glanced around. Only the two leopards were in the hallway. So she leaned closer to Jim and whispered, “Jim, if you tell anybody about what you just saw, I will get lashed, or worse.”
“You will?” he asked just as quietly.
“Yes. Are you going to blab?” Lupe asked. Her bright yellow eyes seemed to glow in the dark as they reflected the little light there was behind the ladder.
Jim stared at her, barely able to breath. “M-maybe.”
Lupe sighed, closing her eyes. Then she picked up the bucket and climbed the ladder. She wasn’t about to threaten or hurt a kid.
Jim breathed relief. Then he ran back the hallway. As he neared the cargo hold he ran into something soft! Jim fell back onto the floor.
“Whoa, whoa, hold it there, kid.” It was Martin. He’d finally woken up and discovered he was in the cargo room.
“Martin, I have to tell you something in the cargo room!” Jim whispered as he ran into the dark room.
“What’s going on, Jim? This better not be a trick.” Martin complained walking back into the darkness. “Ouch!” He kicked a keg.
“Shhhh!” Jim shushed him. “You will not believe what just happened.”
“I just saw Lupe…”
“Aw, her again? Why do you keep hanging around her?” Martin interrupted.
“Martin, shut up!” Jim hissed.
There was quiet. “Alright. What?”
“I just saw Lupe fight the guards to the Queen’s cabin.”
“Then the Queen saw her and let her in. I couldn’t hear anything. But then when Lupe came out, she was fine. And she had a barrel full of dead rats. And she found me hiding behind the ladder. So she came over and asked what I’d seen. I told her. Then she said that if I told anybody what I’d seen, she’d get whipped or worse.”
“Well, yeah. The captain gave us specific orders not to go near the Queen’s cabin. You bet she’d get whipped.” Said Martin. “Did she threaten you?”
“No. She just asked me if I would blab. I said maybe. Then she just left.” Said Jim quickly.
“Hmmm. That sounds odd. I wonder why she didn’t threaten you?”
“Should I tell the captain?” Jim asked.
“I would. But I didn’t like her to begin with.”
“So I should tell him?”
“I don’t know. Whatever you decide.” Martin replied.
Day 5-Aboard the Mariana-Off the coast
Blare was bothering the leopards again. “Please, I just want to ask the Queen to pose for me.”
The leopards ignored him and stared straight ahead.
Blare began to get frustrated.
Lupe climbed down the ladder. When she saw Blare in front of the door to the Queen’s cabin, she turned around to climb back up the ladder.
Blare turned his head in time to see her. “Hey, wait a minute!” He ran over. By this time, his reputation had preceded him. Nobody, except Jim, wanted to be around him. “Whoa! I haven’t drawn you yet.”
“And I don’t want to be drawn.” She answered climbing up the latter.
“Wait, wait, miss. Just one picture.” He followed her up the ladder to the deck. “Please. Then I’ll leave you alone.”
“Alright.” Lupe turned around. “One picture. But don’t tell me when you’re going to do it. I hate posing.” Then she began to walk away.
“Thank you. You won’t regret this.” He called.
She stopped. She turned her head to look at him. Then she glanced down at the floor before heading on again.
Blare glanced around for someone else to draw. He saw Martin carrying a sack across deck. He ran over.
“Do you mind if I do a picture of you?” Blare asked.
“I didn’t…the first three times you asked me! I know…” Martin stopped and sat the sack down. “How about you do some drawings of the fishes. I can always throw you over so you can get a real good look up close.”
“Uhhh, no, that won’t be necessary.” Blare quickly walked away.
Martin sighed a victory sigh. “Well, that worked.” So he picked up the sack and continued to carry it across deck.
Blare caught sight of Bart and some guys sitting on deck resting. He was one of the few he hadn’t gotten a picture of. He hurried over.
“Do you mind if I draw you?” Blare asked.
“Yes, I mind. So off with ya before I slice yer head off!” Bart threatened fingering his dagger.
Blare quickly walked away.
Martin just finished the morning jobs. He saw Elizabeth leaning against the mast. He stopped panting, straightened up, and walked over.
“Hi.” He said.
“Hi.” She answered.
“Nice weather we’re having.” He commented.
“The wind stopped this morning. The boats been idle for hours.”
Martin nearly slapped himself for the dumb pleasantry. “Hopefully it’ll pick back up.”
“Every time I see you, you’re off alone somewhere.” Martin commented.
“So what’s it to you?” She asked hotly.
“I was just observing…”
“Well go observe someone else!” Elizabeth walked angrily away.
Jim walked up beside Martin and watched Elizabeth storm off.
“I think she likes me.” Martin commented.
“Nothin’.” Jim walked away. He couldn’t understand why Martin kept chasing the husky.
Morgan walked across the deck like a king in his courtyard. Bengamin walked behind him glaring at everybody.
Once they’d passed by, Coal whispered to Geoffrey, “He be more house cat than lizard.”
“Jim, go take these ropes down to the hold.” Martin instructed piling bunches of thick ropes into Jim’s arms.
“Okay.” Jim could hardly see around the coils. He dropped the ropes down the ladder, and then climbed down himself. He carried them into the cargo hold. But he forgot to bring the lantern down with him. So he had to feel for the nails. When he found them he hung the coiled ropes on the nails.
After the Captain had made his rounds, Bengamin left to head down to the cargo hold.
Jim stopped when he heard a lot of footsteps coming down the hall. So he hid behind a bunch of cargo crates.
“So, what be yer report, Bengamin?” Bart asked.
“So far, everybody be in the dark. The captain be as comfortable as a hen in a henhouse.” Bengamin answered.
“The plan be still good. An make sure it stays that way.”
After he heard them leave, Jim slid to the floor. Now he was really scared. He didn’t recognize the one voice, but he knew who the other one was. Bengamin and one of the crew were planning something big; something that had to do with Captain Morgan. Jim sat and waited another few minutes just to make sure they weren’t coming back. Then he came out from behind the crate and felt his way to the hall. There he began to run!
“Ooff!” he fell back. He heard another set of thumps. And he saw a flicker of a lantern as it hit the floor.
“Sheesh, Jim! You could’ve broken the lantern!” Martin scorned. He picked up the lantern. “And you forgot these at the bottom of the ladder.” He said holding two more rope coils.
“Bring the lantern! I have to tell you something else!” Jim didn’t hesitate in getting up and pulling Martin along.
“Jim! I have to get back to work or the Captain’s going to get mad!” Martin protested.
Once they were in the cargo room, Martin began to hang up the coils.
“Martin, I just overheard Bengamin and another crew member.” Jim said quickly.
“You like to eavesdrop on people, don’t you?”
“They said something about Captain Morgan not suspecting a thing. And they also mentioned a plan.” Jim explained.
“Now, wait just a minute. You’re saying that Bengamin and a crewmember were discussing something about the captain. Right?” Martin asked.
“Yeah. And they weren’t saying in it a good way.” Said Jim.
“You’re getting upset over nothing. Knowing Bengamin he’s probably just planning some kind of surprise just to kiss up to Morgan.” Martin commented.
“You don’t believe me?” Jim asked.
“No, I believe you kid, it’s just that…” Martin stared at Jim’s terrified face. “Alright. We’ll go tell the Captain.”
Martin lit the way with the lantern as Jim followed.
Martin stopped suddenly. Jim stopped at his side when he saw what was blocking their path. Martin showed the light on the obstruction. Lupe’s eyes burned yellow when the light hit them. She held a silver sword blade at Martin’s atoms apple.
“You know what will happen if you tell the Captain?” Lupe asked them. “Bengamin will find out, and so will that crew member you heard in the cargo hold. Then they’ll act on their plan ahead of time, before we get to a port for supplies. Then every good sailor on board will either be taken as a prisoner, worthy of unimaginable torture, or be killed on the spot, and that includes Morgan.” Lupe explained as she held the sword evenly. “It will be best for everyone if you just keep your mouth shut until we reach land. Or do I have to shut your mouths for you?”
They shook their heads ‘no’.
“Alright then.” Lupe sheathed her sword, keeping her eyes on the two. Then she stepped to the side. “After you.”
That night-Aboard the Mariana-Off the coast
“Elizabeth, Elizabeth.” Martin whispered.
“Wh…” Martin grabbed her and forced her down the ladder. He and Jim pushed her down the hallway into the cargo hold. There they left go of her.
She angrily turned around intent on fighting them.
“Calm down. We couldn’t let anyone know we were coming down here.” Jim explained.
“What’s going on?” she asked suspiciously.
“Listen, I know you don’t like me very much, but hear us out. First you have to swear to keep this a secret.” Explained Martin.
“Because you’re going to want to know what’s going on as much as we do.” Jim explained. “And we need you to help us with something.”
“And you can use your knives.” Martin added. “But first you have to swear, because this is big.”
“Alright. I swear. Now what’s going on that is so important?” Elizabeth asked.
Lupe laid on the poop deck staring up at the star filled sky. She was about ready to turn in for the night. She felt the large scar on her face. This voyage was turning into a disaster. And it was going to get worse. Finally she got up and walked to the ladder and climbed down. She walked down the hall, past the cabins and men’s bunks full of sleeping sailors and pirates. She came to the room before the cargo hold and walked in. It was the women’s bunks. There were only a couple bunks, compared to the men’s. Half of them were empty.
Lupe walked over to hers and sat on the poor excuse for a mattress. She took off her bandana, wrapped it up and put it in her pocket. A little poof of white fur popped up on her head. Lying on the bed, she took the ring wrapped in velvet out of her pocket and looked it over. It was no ordinary ring. Johnson had gotten it from a gold ship they had taken. It had belonged to a queen at one time. She still missed him. Even after five years she still wished he were here to cheer her up, especially now. She could always trust him to stick by her, and he could always trust her to stick by him, even if they didn’t at first. She would wear the ring if it didn’t bring so much attention to it. So she just kept it in her pocket wrapped in a velvet piece of cloth that also belonged to royalty at one time. She rolled it up and stuffed in away.
Then she pulled her Captain’s Log out of her bag and opened it. She picked up her pen and began to write about what happened that day. Things like, how she’d failed in finding any of her long lost crew. None seemed to be left. She couldn’t decide whether to join the navy, or start her crew again. If she decided to be a privateer again, she wouldn’t ever make the mistake of not personally accepting each of her crew. She would be much more careful this time. She already had a few good ideas of who would be the first members…if they accepted. That is, if she lived long enough to do so.
She also wrote about how she hated to threaten Jim and Martin. They were both innocent bystanders, and didn’t deserve to get involved. Especially Jim. He reminded her so much of Johnson that it broke her down every time she looked at him. When Blare wasn’t looking, she’d studied the picture he’d drawn of Jim. It was the same pose Johnson had liked to use when playing around. They had such a close resemblance that she began to wonder whether or not they were related.
She soon finished writing in her log. She put it and the pen back in her bag and settled down to sleep.
Night 6-Aboard the Mariana-Off the coast
It had been another ruff day. Lupe settled down in her bunk. She’d already wrote in her log and taken off her bandana. She’d talked to Cleopatra again. She learned that Morgan planned to stop for supplies as soon as they reached Portugal. He also wanted to give the crew a break. Because of the pirates making the rest of the crew look bad, everyone was getting whipped if they slowed down in their work. Lupe had even gotten leather in the back once for lagging.
Never in her life had she whipped one of her crew for not working hard enough.
Morgan acted smart and had whipped her scrubbing hand while she was working, to show his skill with the whip. It was a good thing she was getting paid well, otherwise she would mutiny herself.
She lied down and closed her eyes to sleep. After a few minutes of drifting, she felt cold steel under her chin. Lupe instantly reached for her cutlass beside the mattress! The sharp steel was pushed hard against her throat! Lupe halted reaching for her sword. The person holding the knife relaxed.
“Get up.” The person whispered.
Lupe instantly recognized it to be Elizabeth. Lupe stood up slowly. She let Elizabeth pull her one arm behind her back and force her to the door. Outside the door, they met up with Martin, Jim, Geoffrey, and Bowler. They forced her into the cargo room. When they let her go, she growled at them.
“We want to know what’s going on.” Said Martin.
“Yeah.” Added Geoffrey. “Half the crew be acting like swabs.”
“They are swabs.” Lupe answered on her guard.
“How do you know?” asked Elizabeth.
Lupe didn’t answer.
“Didn’t I tell ya? She’s a pirate too.” Said Martin.
“I am not a pirate!” Lupe said infuriated.
“Then you’ve been among them at one time or another.” Bowler answered with assurance.
“How? If the pirates on board recognized you because you were a prisoner, they would have killed you already.” Said Geoffrey.
Lupe didn’t answer. She knew they would treat a privateer just as they would a pirate. Most privateers abuse their Marques to the point at which no one believes any of them.
“I’m telling you, she’s a pirate. She’s probably with the other pirates on board.” Said Martin.
“Let’s pitch her overboard.” Said Elizabeth.
“No, hang her from the mast.” Said Geoffrey.
“That be murder.” Bowler argued. “We should take her to the captain.”
“Yeah. Let him decide what to do with the dog.” Said Martin.
As they lurched towards her, Lupe picked up a chain and began to use it as a weapon. The group pulled out their hidden knives and attacked her. Lupe dodged most of the knives, blocked the rest, and whapped a few of them hard with the chain!
Jim stood back and watched as Martin was thrown to the floor, Elizabeth kicked, and Geoffrey whapped with the thick chain. Jim stared. He’d never seen anyone fight like Lupe did.
Lupe glanced at Bowler as he ran towards her! She turned and ran to the wall, ran up the side and flipped over backwards landing behind Bowler! She wrapped the chain around his neck and yanked him off his feet!
Jim saw Martin hold his knife ready to thrust it at her! Lupe pulled a knife from her boot and threw it at him! The knife sank into the seam of his shirt and pinned him to the wall!
Geoffrey, Bowler, and Elizabeth ran out of the cargo room, closing and locking the door behind them! Lupe ran to the door and tried to open it. It was a heavy oak door, and it wouldn’t budge.
Completely ignoring Jim and Martin, Lupe ran back to the back of the room and picked up an axe. She ran back over to the door and began to hack at the edges. But she soon gave up. The door wasn’t going to open. She dropped the axe and stood there panting.
“She’s not a dog. She’s a wolf.” Martin gasped barely above a whisper.
Jim backed away from her, terrified.
Lupe turned to them, puzzled.
“How’d you guess?” she asked.
“Your…” Jim gulped pointing at her ears and tail.
Lupe glanced up at her ears. They were straight up. She glanced down at her tail. It was relaxed between her legs. In the fight she’d completely forgotten about her disguise. Wolves are widely hated and feared. It is very rare to find a wolf outside a wolf community actually alive. And if the officers didn’t get rid of them, the peasants did.
“Oh.” Lupe calmly walked over to a crate and sat on it.
Martin was finally able to yank the knife out of his sleeve. He took both knives and walked over to Lupe.
“Go get that rope over there.” He instructed, pointing both knives at her.
She glanced at him, then the ropes, then at the small knives. “I have worse things to worry about.” She answered climbing a higher crate and laying down on it.
Martin had to put his knives in his belt so he could climb the crates after her. When he was close enough, she merely pushed him with her foot. He fell back onto the floor.
“This is what it comes to. Attended the Harvard school for 4 years, served in the navy for 4 years, helped my family on the fleet for 4 years, fought in the war for 3 years, survived a massacre, and traveled every part of the globe…and it’s all going to end with a hanging on a little brig right along the countries I fought against, by a captain of the country I defended. Typical.” Lupe commented. “I’m not worried about a stuck-up dog with two little 3 inch knives.”
Martin and Jim’s mouths dropped.
Just then the door was unlocked and it opened. Morgan, Bengamin and the others stepped in with their weapons ready. Bengamin was the only one grinning evilly.